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The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision

Wednesday 19 October, 2022
by Anonymous

hand raised above a field of grass

You are an auditor who has recently been handed the lead on a long-standing account in a financial institution. You are quick to discover a discrepancy on the account. Your predecessor on this account, who now happens to be your manager, was also aware of the discrepancy, raised it with the client and felt confident with their response. However, when you go through it with the client you are not satisfied with their reasonings.

You and your manager have recently been promoted into these positions and for you to be handed this account is additional recognition of your standing in the organisation. Maintaining the status quo is simple enough and would be less disruptive to your work environment, but is that the right thing to do?   

What would you do?

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There are 4 comments for The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision.

Re: The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision

Wednesday 19 October, 2022
by Malinda
I think in my gut the right thing would be to tell the client that in my professional opinion the reasoning was not sound and remove myself from the account. In a healthy organisation I would hope this wouldn’t mean sacrificing my job. I’d also be curious to understand my colleague ( now managers) understanding of it. Circumstances could have changed and she may also feel in the current context that it is not sound reasoning too. She may even support my stance!

Re: The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision

Thursday 20 October, 2022
by John
I'd have a discussion with my manager to find out their view at the time of their decision making. Maybe the client has changed their reasoning, or facts or laws have changed from then to now.
Then I'd ask my manager for their view on having a discussion with the client in the light of the potential new circumstances, and explain to the client the implications of a status quo. I'd also explain to them that as an auditor I'm independent and have a duty of honest and full assessment.
Then I'd take proceedings from there.

Re: The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision

Thursday 20 October, 2022
by Ian S
If you found the discrepancy you are obliged to satisfy yourself with the resolution. You should discuss with your manager and decide on appropriate action. In addition you should both agree on bringing the matter to the attention of the partner in charge of the audit. Hindsight is always always better than the assumptions in place at the time. You cannot undo what was decided at the time but usually it can be made right. If restitution is involved then it needs to be given to affected parties.Whatever the circumstances, it cannot and must not be ignored. Sweeping it under the carpet could lead to a much bigger issue and greater restitution and potentially, penalties, later.

Re: The ethics of questioning a colleague's decision

Thursday 3 November, 2022
by Mohamed
Financial Institutions usually operate in a very strict regulatory environment, therefore auditing is especially important to support and make sure regulations are being followed. Given both individuals are auditors, part of doing their job is to audit and to report account discrepancies. If I was in his shoes, I would convince my manager to report this discrepancy, because it might lead to a bigger finding with this particular client and both will take credit for this finding, which lead to more recognition and promotion in future.

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